What to do if served a summonsfor a bounced check that I did not write but my father forged?

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What to do if served a summonsfor a bounced check that I did not write but my father forged?

It is not a joint account, just mine. He basically stole a check and bounced it ($22,000). Now the vendor is coming after me. The check was used to pay off an account that was in my father’s name. The vendor is now going after both of us. The mail in regard to the account goes to my father’s house and phone on the account is also his house phone. This is the only way that I did not know about this until now. He must have intercepted the correspondence. The signature is not mine on the check and that is clear. I am not sure what to do now. Police first? Bank? I need to my name out of this since I did not write the check but I am sure I can not without pressing charges against my father for stealing and forging the check.

Asked on November 8, 2010 under Criminal Law, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You've identified the key dilemma--to get out from civil liability for the check, you will almost certainly have to report that your father stole your check and forged you signature. If the check was created through the criminal action(s) of another, you should not be liable for it. However, if you do not contact the police and press charges, it will be impossible to avoid liability for this check, because regardless of whether he had permission up front or in advance, you will be ratifying his actions after the fact and implicitly accepting responsibility. So you may have a solid defense, but it will involve saying that your father stole the check and forged your name, which will almost certainly (given the amount involved) be a felony.


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